The following universities and research centres in Botswana are undertaking ICT-related initiatives:
- University of Botswana, Dept of Computer Science
- University of Botswana, Harry Oppenheimer Okavango Research Centre
- University of Botswana, School of Medicine
- Cable for Africa
During an IST-Africa FP7 Training Workshop held in Gaborone on 21 September 2010, the following priorities under FP7-ICT Call 8 and 9 were identified as being relevant to the research community in Botswana:
Challenge 1: Pervasive and Trusted Network and Service Infrastructures (Call 8)
- ICT 2011.1.1 Future Networks - Cable for Africa
- ICT 20011.1.2 Cloud Computing, Internet of Services and Advanced Software Engineering - Cable for Africa
- ICT 20011.1.4 Trustworthy ICT - Cable for Africa
- ICT 20011.1.6 Future Internet Research and Experimentation (FIRE) (b), (c), (e) - National Technology Research centre
Challenge 3: Alternative Paths to Components & Systems (Call 8)
- ICT 2011.3.2 Smart components and smart systems integration (b) - BOTEC
Challenge 5: ICT for Health, Ageing Well, Inclusion and Governance (Call 9)
- ICT 2011.5.2 Virtual Physiological Human (a), (b), (d) - School of Medicine, University of Botswana
Challenge 6: ICT for a Low Carbon Economy (Call 8)
- ICT 2011.6.1 Smart energy grids - University of Botswana, Energy Dept
Challenge 8: ICT for Learning and Access to Cultural Resources
- ICT 2011.8.1 Technology-Enhanced Learning (Call 8) - University of Botswana, BOTEC, Teacher Training College
- ICT 2011.8.2 ICT for access to cultural resources (Call 9) - University of Botswana
The importance of research cannot be overemphasized; research plays a critical role in much of the decisions taken by any government. Botswana as a developing country requires a solid research infrastructure with the main objective of making informed decisions. However, there are other equally important research areas that Botswana can benefit from.
Under Challenge 6: ICT for a Low Carbon Economy, the country is faced with challenges ranging from high fuel prices, road accidents attributed to alcohol abuse and animals on the roads, uncoordinated roads maintenance to energy crisis that besieged the country. Deaths caused by road accidents in Botswana occupy 2nd position after HIV/AIDS related deaths.
With the country's commitment to reduce the prevalence of HIV/AIDS related deaths, a tendency to divert all resources to HIV/AIDS has created an imbalance of resources allocation to other life threatening occurrences. Reduction in road accidents deaths commits the country to invest more on Information and Communication Technologies, and the National ICT Strategy could not have come at any better time. Use of ICT infrastructure must aim at making roads safer.
Another potential research area is on energy. The current energy shortage has pressured governments in the region to look at alternative energy forms and this is an opportunity to involve and use ICT infrastructure to assure sustainability of natural resources. Botswana has huge coal reserves, which are currently not adequately exploited.
Technologies for Digital Content and Languages (Challenge 4) presents an opportune moment for potential researchers because libraries no longer exist as hard copies. The talk about mobile libraries in the form of trucks loaded with books moving between locations in the digital era becomes expensive and complex to manage. Though the concept of mobile libraries in Botswana still remains a viable option, other challenges are emerging. Government and non-government departments deal with huge volumes of information to be shared between and among the departments and this pose risks to the safety of the information. Projects that look at the use of ICT infrastructure to store and disseminate information must be considered.
The advent of HIV/AIDS has given rise to the prevalence of opportunistic diseases that only a few privileged members of the society are privy to. The same members of the society resort to management of their health on an uncoordinated way. Medical practitioners depend largely on the assumption that patients or clients keep their medical records. Of concern in this system is lack of proper management of clients' record on a longitudinal basis. Rather it is not a requirement for Medical practitioners to request full medical history in cases where clients fail to produce detailed health record. The current 'card' system is not adequate because new cards are issued when old ones are filled up and the client is expected to keep the records.
This scenario presents ample opportunities for researchers to use ICT infrastructure to develop mechanisms and systems that will avail clients' medical records at any medical facility that is linked to the national grid.
Another research area comes as a result of use of indigenous medicinal products by communities with limited access to modern medicine. The use of ICT infrastructure to keep data-banks of commonly used medicinal plants and their medicinal value would provide leads to further research.
Challenge 1: Pervasive and Trusted Network and Service Infrastructure;
Botswana like many other states experiences problems associated with cyber crime. There is therefore a need to build infrastructure to curb such activities. Already some efforts have been undertaken by government to curb cyber-crime. All mobile phones users are now requested to register their sim-cards with the Botswana Telecommunications Authority. This is hoped to ease and keep an inventory of mobile phone ownership and use in the country.
Copyright 2010 - 2012 IST-Africa Consortium